Take your best shot
Would you rather live a life built on prominence or significance? To some people, achieving prominence is the ultimate definition of success. They enjoy fame, fortune and basking in the spotlight. Therefore, prominence often tends to be self-focused and measured by what we have accomplished. On the other hand, significance is about taking your talent and gifts and using them to positively impact others. As a result, significance is focused on making a difference in others’ lives.
Recently, I came across a few compelling questions, penned by Charles Shultz, creator of the comic strip Charlie Brown. As you read them, think again about living a life of prominence vs. significance.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, very few of us remember who was prominent yesterday.
It is clear that awards tarnish and achievements quickly forgotten.
Even in a celebrity-obsessed society, prominence is fleeting.
Here are a few more questions. See how you do with these:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something you have never forgotten.
4. Think of a few people who made you feel appreciated and believed in you.
5. Think of five people who have been an inspiration to you
I bet that was easier!
The lesson we can learn from this is that a life well lived is focused more on significance then prominence. Like you, I have the utmost respect for individuals that attain greatness in their chosen field. However, a person’s legacy is not built solely upon awards and accolades. What makes a person unforgettable is the impact they have made in the lives of others. My late friend Charlie Tremendous Jones used to say, “If your life does not make a difference, your absence won’t either!